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This Week in Content Marketing: Advertising and Content Marketing Are Different?


PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

In this episode of This Old Marketing, Robert and I ponder the views of a famous British ad man who seems to be lost in the “good old days” – which means he really doesn’t understand content. Next, we take a closer look at influencer marketing, which often doesn’t deliver on its wild promises and is hard for big companies to manage. We also agree that YouTube’s move to offer streaming TV channels could make it a formidable competitor to Netflix and Amazon. Finally, we can’t figure out why people are upset that Facebook uses human oversight to tweak the content of its news feed – just like every other media company. Rants and raves include a set of interviews that promise to provide viewpoints on sponsored content as an antidote for ad blocking – but then delivers meaningless blather – and the amazing future of bots, which could have a huge impact on commerce and communications. We wrap up the show with a This Old Marketing example of the week from OBEY.

This week’s show

(Recorded live May 14, 2016; Length: 59:57)

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1. Content marketing in the news

  • Sir John Hegarty on the perils of content marketing (8:15): Business Insider recently interviewed legendary British ad man Sir John Hegarty about the current state of digital media. He spends a lot of time talking up the importance of advertising, while trashing some of the most iconic moments in content, such as Oreo’s “dunk in the dark.” Robert and I agree that the world Hegarty waxes philosophical about doesn’t exist anymore. Catchy, memorable slogans and jingles don’t work well in today’s world where messages tend to get fragmented across thousands of channels.
  • Confessions of a social media exec on influencer marketing (18:43): “Influencer” is the biggest buzzword of the moment. An entire ecosystem has evolved around these social media stars, but the relationship between brands, agencies, and influencers is starting to get rocky, reports Digiday. Influencers are demanding exorbitant amounts of money, with no guarantees of performance. I believe brands must be very careful to set clear expectations on content creation, distribution, and measurement when working with influencers. This article is paired with the next one.
  • YouTube said to plan ‘Unplugged’ online TV service for 2017 (20:30): YouTube is working on a paid subscription service called Unplugged that will offer customers a bundle of cable TV channels streamed over the Internet. The project, for which YouTube has already overhauled its technical architecture, is one of the online video giant’s biggest priorities and is slated to debut as soon as 2017. Robert and I agree this approach has a lot of potential for “narrowcasting” specialized channels based on an audience’s specific interests. It could become a significant competitor to Netflix and Amazon’s recently-announced streaming TV service.
  • Facebook news selection is in hands of editors not algorithms, documents show (32:50): Documents leaked to The Guardian show how Facebook relies on human intervention on top of its algorithms to determine what the hottest stories will be for its users. The documents come amid growing concerns over how Facebook decides what is news for its users. Robert and I can’t believe that anyone is concerned about this; it’s the same thing that the mainstream news media (print, broadcast, and online) has been doing for years. The article includes an excerpt from Facebook’s editorial style guide, which content marketers can learn from.

2. Sponsor (40:27)

  • Marketo: Did you know that warm temperatures make buyers more receptive to brand and product communications? According to the Journal of Consumer Psychology, warm temperatures activate the concept of emotional warmth. This makes summer the perfect time for you to engage and nurture your buyers because they’re more receptive to offers, content, and discounts. Download Marketo’s new eBook Summer Marketing 101 to learn how you can leverage what the season has to offer! You can download it at


3. Rants and raves (43:38)

  • Robert’s rant: Robert was initially excited to learn that CMO interviewed five publishers to learn whether they consider sponsored content to be an antidote to ad blocking. But there was only one problem: Not one of them actually answered this question. Instead, they pontificated about their own ad networks or agreed this idea is something they need to look into. Robert is disappointed and more than a little peeved!
  • Joe’s rave: I love this TechCrunch interview with the CEO of Kik, Ted Livingston. This popular chat app already has over 300 million users and reaches over 40% of U.S. teens. He believes chatbots – mini-programs that can automate common operations – have tremendous potential for commerce and communications. Kik already has more than 6,000 of them deployed. Robert points out that Blockchain, the technology behind digital currencies like Bitcoin, is a similar technology that also has a lot of growth potential.

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (51:51)

  • OBEY: Shepard Fairey is a countercultural artist whose initial fame came from his iconic art, which featured the eyes of wrestler Andre the Giant with the mysterious tagline, “OBEY.” He followed this up with a large volume of street art in a similar style, which he distributed via stickers and posters. He didn’t sell his art, but gave a large amount of it away. In a sense, Fairey followed the Content Inc. model: Create content you’re passionate about, find an audience for it, and ultimately create content that your audience wants. Fairey is also well-known for creating the Obama “hope” poster. Another recent addition to the OBEY universe is OBEY magazine, which does a masterful job of integrating interesting content with a seamless e-commerce experience. It has been published for four to five years, and has become a key piece of the way in which his company goes to market. This is a very cool and unique example of This Old Marketing.


For a full list of PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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